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“ come, and we be in the time when he is
And, when they shall draw near to , the " close of their testimony t, the beast, that “ ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, shall “ make war against them, and shall overcome " them, and kill them. And their dead bodies 66 shall lie in the broad street of the great city,
which spiritually 'is called Sodom and Egypt, « where also our Lord was crucified. And
they of the people and kindreds and tongues
* The same sound doctrine is set forth in the article; “ The « Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the « Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to man“ kind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and man.” Thus have the two wit-, nesses only oné mouth, with which they unanimously protest against the host of mediators venerated by them of the Apostasy.
+ Such is cerainly the proper translation of the Aorist TIMEOwer. The subjunctive mood of the first Aorist generally bears á kind of future signification : and the context amply shews, that such must be its meaning in the present instance. The witnesses were to prophesy during the whole 1260 years, which are commensurate with the two first woe-trumpets and the greatest part of the third. At the time of this event, they were only under the second woe-trumpet (See Rev. xi. 7-12. and 14, 15.) : consequently they could not have finished their testimony, as our translation erroneously represents them to have done; because they were to continue prophesying to the very end of the 1260 years. “ Cum finituri sint testimonium suum (sic enim olay Teowor vertendum, non de præterito, cum finierint). Mede's Comment. Apoc. in loc.
nations shall see their dead bodies “ three days and a half, and shall not suffer their “ dead bodies to be put in graves. And they, that “ dwell upon the earth, shall rejoice over them, “ and make merry, and shall send gifts one to “ another; because these two prophets tormented “ them that dwelt on the earth. And after three
days and an half the spirit of life from God “ entered into them; and they stood upon their
feet: and great fear fell upon them which saw “ them. And they heard a great voice from hea
ven, saying unto them, Come up hither. And
they ascended up to heaven in a cloud ; and “ their enemies beheld them.”
Prophecy, as it might be naturally expected, dwells only upon great and prominent circumstances; were it otherwise constructed, the whole world could not contain the volumes, which it would occupy.
We must inquire therefore, what circumstance in the bistory of the two witnesses is of a sufficiently definite nature, that is to say, differs sufficiently from all other persecutions which they underwent, to occasion so very peculiar a mention of it.
1. In prosecuting this inquiry, the first point necessary to be considered is the nature of the death, which the two witnesses are represented as undergoing. In the language of prophecy, to die signifies to cease to be whatever a person was before
such death*. The death of the witnesses therefore denotes their ceasing to be witnesses : and, since this death is manifestly a violent one, since they are said to have been slain by the beast; the import of the prediction is, that the power symbolized by the beast should forcibly cause the witnesses to desist from bearing their testimony, thus inflicting upon them what may be termed a theological death.
2. The next point to be considered is the time when they are slain. This time is said to be, when they are drawing near to the close of their prophesying, but before the sounding of the seventh trumpett. Now to such a chronological description, I conceive the remarkable era of the reformation to answer very exactly, as I shall presently point out at large.
* « Mori ea notione dicitur, qui in quocunque statu con"stitutus, sive Politico sive Ecclesiastico, seu quovis alio, “ desinit esse quod fuit; unde et occidit qui tali morte
quemquam afficit" (Mede's Comment. Apoc. in myst. duor. test.). This excellent definition of Mr. Mede's shews the propriety of the distinction which I have made between the death of the third part of men or the Roman community, and the death of the Roman beast. Death in both cases signifies the causing them to cease to be what they were before. Hence the death of a community is the causing a community to cease from eristing as a community; and the death of a beast is the causing a beast or idolatrous empire to cease from existing as a beast or idolatrous empire. + See Rev. xi. 7–12, 15.
To this era I have already thought myself warranted in peculiarly referring the second persccution of the men of understanding, which Daniel describes as taking place prerious to the revelation of the atheistical king; and to this era I now think myself equally warranted in looking for an accomplishment of the present prophecy.
3. The third point to be considered is the foe, by whom they are slain. He is styled the beast of the bottomless pit : and this beast will be found upon examination, to be the first beast of the Apocalypse, or the beast with seven heads and ten horns *. In short, as it shall be fully shewn hereafter, he is the same as Daniel's fourth beast, or the Roman Empire . and he slays the witnesses by the instrumentality of his last head f. Before
* Compare Rev. xi. 7. with Rev. xii. 1. and xvii. 3,8.
Or to speak more accurately his septimo-octave head. or The seven heads are seven kings –The beast, that was, and " is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven” (Rev! xvii. 9, 10, 11.). Thus it
that St. John identifies even the whole beast with his last head, on account of the vast power wbich this last herid was destined at its first rise to possess : consequently, when he asserts, that the beast should make war upon
the reiinesses, since the cironology of the prophecy shews that the beast should do this under his last heud, and since St. John identifies the beast with his last head, it is manifest that this war was to be undertaken by the last head of the beast. The same remark applies to the last war of the beast, the false prophet, and the kings of the earth, against the Lumb. The beast
we can understand therefore the import of the prediction relative to the death of the witnesses, which is to take place towards the close of the 1260 years, and under the second woe-trumpet, we must learn what form of Roman government is intended by the last head of the beast. This matter however must be reserved for future discussion, when the whole character of the beast is considered at large. For the present then, in order that the thread of the prophecy relative to the witnesses may be preserved unbroken, I must be allowed to assume, that this last head is not the Papacy, as Mr. Mede and Bp. Newton-suppose, but the line of the Gothic Emperors of the West; the first of whom was Charlemagne, and whose representative, at the time of the Reformation was Charles the fifth.
These matters being premised, let us proceed to consult history.
In the years 1530, 1531, 1535, and 1537, the protestant German princes associated themselves together, for the defence of their religion, in what was called the leägue of Smalcalde. This formidable combination roused the jealousy of the Emperor and the Pope; nor were the proceedings of the council of Trent less calculated to excite the fears of the confederates. The deposition and
here, as in the former instance, ineans the last head of the beast; and the kings of the earth er Roman empire, those sovereigns who are in communion with the false prophet. This subject will be fully discussed hereafter. Vol. II.